|No restrictions on decentralization in Namibia|
|Friday, 13 April 2007 11:35|
DECENTRALIZATION in Namibia is not restricted to administrative processes and the provision of services but equally embraces political, economic and financial matters while emphasizing it's co-operative and participative character. It must assist central government in identifying the priorities of regional and local communities and accordingly empower them. There is nexus between grass roots development and grass root democracy. The assumption is that democracy at central level cannot be functional and cannot properly work if it is not supported by a function democracy at sub national level. Only then the credibility of democracy is assured.
Decentralization is part of a democratic process of governance. This should be reflected in the credibility, transparency and efficiency of programs of economic development, poverty reduction and creation of employment opportunities conditions and social services and in the promotion of social enlistment. Equally important is an accountable government at sub-national level, applying communicative and customary friendly governance.
In Namibia the principle of equity must always figure prominently, if not decisively in the decentralization process. This applies especially to the distribution of financial resources at sub-national level. Without meaningful fiscal decentralization, any decentralization policy is doomed to fail. The ultimate goal is fiscal autonomy, implying that regional and local authorities have the capacity and ability to raise resources themselves and thus reduce the dependence on central government. This pre-supposes that a resource base is in place. One of the intended outcomes of decentralization in Namibia is rationalization of available resources and cost-effectiveness. Meaningful fiscal decentralization should include equalization policies between different regions and local entities, so that citizens at both levels have access to a reasonable level of public services wherever they live.
A decentralization of public services and personnel will bring service management and provision of public services closer to the user and with the intention of increasing the quantity and quality of such services. People will have the opportunity, particularly through the development committees at settlement, local constituency and regional level
to influence the kind of services to be delivered, the type of projects needed and the prioritization of services and development projects. Not only will they be given the opportunity to make an input to policy formulation, development and projects planning, but also critically observe and monitor policy implementation and service delivery.
Bellington Masalasala Mabakeng